WORLD TSUNAMI AWARENESS DAY
Every year on November 5th, countries around the world observe World Tsunami Awareness Day. This day raises tsunami awareness and shares innovative approaches to risk reduction.
Tsunamis are rare, but when they do occur, they can be very destructive. Tsunamis are considered one of the deadliest types of natural disasters. The Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 claimed 227,000 lives in 14 countries. In the last 100 years, 58 tsunamis have caused more than 260,000 lives. Tsunamis are most common in the Pacific Ocean and Indonesia. However, many other countries are at a high risk of experiencing tsunamis. These countries include:
- Chile and Peru
- West Coast of the United States
- New Zealand
An earthquake must occur before a tsunami. It’s the seismic activity from an earthquake that causes a series of eruptions in the ocean waters. These eruptions become giant waves. When these waves travel inland, they build up to higher and higher heights. The highest tsunami wave ever recorded was 100 feet high. This occurred in Alaska’s Lituya Bay in 1958. Because this area is sparsely populated, only five deaths were recorded. Besides achieving great heights, waves from tsunamis also travel quickly. During the Indian Ocean tsunami, the waves traveled 500 miles per hour.
Once a person has survived the earthquake preceding the tsunami, they must also survive the tidal wave that hits, and then the flooding that follows. When a tsunami warning is issued, it’s imperative to get to high ground or as far inland as possible.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WorldTsunamiAwarenessDay
Many countries host events to help spread awareness for tsunamis. They hold educational seminars to help the public learn about tsunamis as well as discussion panels on disaster preparedness. Only coastal communities are affected by tsunamis. Even if you don’t live along the coast, you can still observe this day. Here are some ways to do it:
- Learn all about tsunamis
- Think about what you would do in the event of a tsunami
- Get a natural disaster emergency plan in place
- Watch a tsunami movie, such as The Impossible, Deep Impact, 2012, and The Perfect Storm
When sharing on social media, use #WorldTsunamiAwarenessDay
WORLD TSUNAMI AWARENESS DAY HISTORY
The country of Japan is credited to having founded World Tsunami Awareness Day. Because of the country’s experience with tsunamis, they became leaders in preparing for these natural disasters. Japan has expertise in tsunami early warning and reducing future impacts of tsunamis. November 5th was chosen as World Tsunami Awareness Day to commemorate the Japanese story of “Inamura-no-hi” or “burning of the rice sheaves.” In 1858 a Japanese farmer saw the tide recede and knew a tsunami was about to hit. He set fire to his rice harvest to warn the other villagers. Afterward, the farmer built an embankment and planted trees to protect the village from future tsunamis. In 2015, the United Nations declared November 5th as World Tsunami Awareness Day.
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